5 Types of Customer Service Software for E-Commerce Businesses

Customer service takes more than a team of hardworking agents. It takes a solid technology strategy, too.

E-commerce brands, in particular, face chaotic customer service challenges. Between omnichannel support, the demand for 24/7 availability, and higher overall requests, there’s a lot to manage. 

Unfortunately, it’s getting even more challenging. Many retailers know their customer service needs to improve, and customers aren’t making it easy. Customer engagement is up 14% in 2022, and so are customer standards. 60% say they have higher customer service standards than before, but only 26% say the overall quality of their customer service is extremely strong.

This year is tough. There’s a big gap between customer expectations and reality, and the talent shortage isn’t helping. But there is a way to fill that gap and deliver exceptional service to your customers.

You need customer service software

Dive in to see how you can make things easier for your customer service team while improving customer satisfaction, and see the five must-have support tools that can help you do it.

What is customer service software?

Customer service software helps your support agents serve your customers. From CRM to analytics, you can put together an ecosystem of tools to enable efficient and effective customer support.

What kind of software do you need for e-commerce customer service?

Your support team is spread thin. They’re handling the rapid influx of inquiries, dealing with shipping delays, and stressed customers—plus they’re likely dealing with a short staff.

Give them the gift of efficiency. Here are the five must-have types of software to streamline your customer service.

1. CRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) is software that helps your team organize customer information, from storing historical information to analyzing data to facilitating conversations.

CRM software is a foundational purchase for an e-commerce business. Many of the following tools are available as add-ons or integrations so that everything can work together as one.

2. Ticketing system

Simply put, a ticketing system keeps track of customer issues. It helps customer service agents to organize and manage all customer inquiries, no matter which channel they come through, to ensure nothing slips through the cracks.

You can also automate ticketing systems to help route customers to particular departments, prioritize based on category, or even tag using perceived customer sentiment.

3. Conversational engagement platform

Conversational commerce for customer serviceA conversational platform, like Quiq, seamlessly connects agents and customers through a variety of messaging channels. Messaging has proven to be a more efficient and affordable form of customer engagement than voice and enables agents to manage multiple conversations at once. 

You can also use conversational engagement platforms to connect with your customers where they are, like Facebook Messenger, Apple Business Chat, WhatsApp, and more. Zendesk even reports that third-party messaging apps receive the highest average CSAT score (98%).

Quiq also delivers enhanced conversational AI to connect your customers through chatbots. Chatbots lighten the load for your customer service agents, filling in at various points in the conversation.

Designate a chatbot as the welcome wagon to collect customer information and route the issue to the appropriate department, automatically capture customer feedback at the end of an interaction, or even have bots answer common customer service questions. 

4. Analytics software

Every team can benefit from more data. Analytics software helps you understand customer behavior, trends, and pain points. Use this information to identify areas of improvement in your customer service team or uncover problems before they happen. 

For example, if you see a jump in “Where’s my order?” inquiries, test what happens when you send tracking links via text message, which has a much higher open rate than email.

5. Knowledge base

This software allows you to create and manage a customer self-service portal. Customers can find answers to their questions without having to contact customer service. According to a 2022 Zendesk survey, 83% of customers will spend more money with companies that allow them to find answers online—without having to ask anyone.

Knowledge base software can be as simple as a content management system, but there are also specialized services that help you catalog information so that it’s easier for your customers to find. 

How customer service software can all work together

As you piece together best-of-breed solutions for your customer service, look for software that integrates with each other to enhance your workflows. Investing in solutions that play well together is vital for the success of your customer service team.

For example, Zendesk’s Quiq integration enables your customer support agents to work with customers right from the Zendesk interface. When customers send a message to your company, no matter which platform, it automatically creates a ticket and fills in information like assignee, ticket type, priority, and more.

Agents can also use the customer information that’s already in Zendesk to help them solve issues. Access information like order history, past conversations, and more. Quiq will even scan conversations to identify pain points and pull up answers from Zendesk’s knowledge base.

You can find other Quiq integration opportunities here.

What are the benefits of customer service software?

Enhancing your team’s workflows with customer service software provides tons of benefits, felt by your customers, your agents, and your bottom line.

  1. Quicker response times: When customer service agents have the right information at their fingertips, they can respond to customer questions faster. Customer order information or past interactions can be stored within a CRM and automatically pulled up a the beginning of a conversation. Or, when agents are asked a question they don’t know, they can simply search their knowledge base. 
  2. Faster resolutions: Above all else, customers want their problems solved quickly. Since agents have a more comprehensive picture of the customer and their problem, they’re more likely to resolve their issue with fewer messages.
  3. Reduced costs: Automating manual tasks and improving efficiency enables customer service agents can handle more customer requests in a shorter time.
  4. Happier agents: Customer service agents spend a lot of time dealing with unhappy customers, which can really take its toll. Only 15% of agents report that they’re extremely satisfied with their amount of work. When work is easier to manage—and customers are happier—your team benefits, too. 
  5. Improved customer service: Support agents can deliver even better customer service with insights pulled from customer analytics. They can track things like sentiment and easily escalate problems to a manager when needed.

Plus, customers don’t need to repeat themselves when their information and conversation history is readily available. That itself provides a premium customer experience—one they’re willing to pay for. 88% of surveyed shoppers said they would spend more money with companies that ensure they won’t need to repeat information. (Wow!) 
Digital_Conversations_Pricing_Integrations_Business_Messaging_Channels

Start with Quiq

If you’re looking for customer service software to deliver exceptional customer experiences, Quiq’s conversational AI is the place to start.

Unlock the power of conversations with rich messaging, intelligent chatbots, and tools to help your agents thrive. Plus, you can meet customers on whatever platform they prefer. 

Start using asynchronous messaging and deliver stellar customer service.

With customers flocking to messaging channels, it’s a great time for your customer service team to adopt asynchronous messaging. The best way to set your team up for success? With a conversational platform, like Quiq.

Turn any messaging channel into an asynchronous experience. With Quiq, you can:

  • Manage conversations across multiple channels
  • Serve customers based on sentiment
  • Increase agent efficiency and boost customer satisfaction

Sign up for a Quiq demo and see how it can help you deploy asynchronous messaging and elevate your customer service.

Asynchronous Messaging: How to Use it to Deliver Exceptional Customer Service

Messaging is good. Asynchronous messaging is better.

Let’s face it. Customers have little tolerance for inconveniences of any kind. Whether that’s waiting around for a response, repeating information, or finding an immediate solution to their problem.

Customer service teams aim to serve, so having the available channels to give customers the exact experience they want is crucial to increasing customer satisfaction.

What is asynchronous messaging?

Imagine you’re the customer. You’re busy but need help returning a pair of boots (that just aren’t your style) that your well-meaning dad bought you for your birthday. A completely random example…

You reach out to the live chat service on the eCommerce website to initiate the return, but you’re interrupted midway through the conversation. There’s an immediate work problem that needs your attention. The kids are fighting. The sky is falling. Whatever it may be, you have to start the process all over again.

Frustrating, right? It’s just a simple return!

Well, asynchronous messaging (sometimes called async messaging or asynchronous chat) takes the stress out of that conversation. It doesn’t require both parties to be present at the same time to complete the interaction. You can simply jump back in once you’ve taken care of life’s responsibilities. This is asynchronous messaging at its best.

SMS/text messages, WhatsApp, and Facebook Chat are all prime examples of asynchronous messaging in action. Conversations can start, stop, and resume whenever either person is available.

At the other end of the spectrum is synchronous messaging. It’s typically a live, one-to-one chat between a customer and a customer service representative.

What makes it so different? There’s usually a clear beginning and end to a synchronous chat. A customer reaches out with a specific question or to find a solution to their problem, and the conversation ends once those needs are met.

Think of it like a typical phone interaction—just using messaging instead of voice. And since synchronous messaging is so similar to phone interactions, it often comes with the same drawbacks.

  • Customers have to wait for a live agent.
  • If the agent can’t answer a question, the customer has to be rerouted.
  • Agents can only serve one person at a time.
  • Complex problems take up more of your agents’ time.
  • If a customer gets interrupted, the chat ends without a resolution.

Now that you know what asynchronous messaging is, keep reading to learn about the benefits for your customers, your support team, and your bottom line.

Getting started: 7 benefits of asynchronous messaging.

Think of asynchronous messaging somewhere between live chat and email. Customers typically expect a quick—but not instant—response. This flexibility allows your team to deliver exceptional customer service in a time that works for the customer and your team.

But that’s not the only benefit. Here are seven benefits of adding asynchronous messaging to your customer service arsenal.

  1. Customers can fit you into their busy days. Life is busy. We’re always multitasking. There are too many distractions—it’s a lot. Asynchronous messaging gives customers the flexibility to fit you into their schedules. They don’t have to block time out of their day for a lengthy live chat or wait for business hours to get someone on the phone. Instead, they can get their support requests taken care of on their own time, at their own pace.
  2. Less wait time. Since agents can jump in and out of multiple conversations—as many as 30 at a time—customers spend less time “on hold” waiting to connect with a live agent. And that is really important to customers. Zendesk reports that over 60% say getting their issues resolved quickly is the most important aspect of good customer service. With asynchronous messaging, customers can get answers while going about their day.
  3. No repeated information. One of the things that frustrates customers the most is to have to repeat their problem. No matter whether they get disconnected from a live chat or transferred to multiple people before they get an answer to their problem, repeating themselves almost always leads to a bad experience. With asynchronous messaging and a conversational platform behind it, customers (and agents) can pick up the conversation right where they left off. There’s no information lost between sessions. Their conversation history is available for agents to reference at any time.
  4. Resolve problems in less time. While asynchronous messaging potentially drags out conversations (depending on how quickly your customers respond), agents often spend less working time per interaction. Quiq clients can reduce work time by 25–40% when converting calls to messaging. This is because agents can quickly address those frequently asked questions that don’t necessarily require a phone call (think password reset process and hours of operations). Simple problems get solved faster, while more complex problems have the breathing room to come to a thorough resolution.
  5. Prioritize customer requests. During peak times, when your team is truly overwhelmed, asynchronous messaging helps your agents triage customer requests. Collect customer information, sentiment, and problem upfront to determine how quickly the problem needs to be addressed. A customer service agent can immediately help an angry customer with a simple problem and close out the ticket quickly. While a neutral person with a more complex question can wait a little longer for your agents to figure out the right response.Asynchronous messaging agent efficiency customer engagement performance channels sms facebook instagram whatsapp conversations
  6. Meet support demands with fewer agents. Much like phone calls, synchronous messaging requires one agent per customer interaction. To meet demand and avoid long wait times, you need a higher volume of staff members at all times. This also means that you likely have to hire extra team members to support peak times. Asynchronous messaging can help with that. Since your support team can take part in multiple conversations at once, you can serve more customers with fewer agents. This is particularly helpful now when baseline support ticket requests have gone up 20% since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Zendesk.
  7. Get more opportunities to initiate a conversation. Since conversations are more flexible, customers are more likely to engage with customer service reps at different stages within the the customer lifecycle. Customers don’t have to set aside big chunks of time for conversations and your team will have more context to help serve them better. From starting a conversation from Maps with Apple Messages for Business or using Facebook Messenger to ask about size options, there’s ample opportunity to serve customers and increase revenue.

How to make the most out of asynchronous messaging.

Messaging as a whole has significantly grown in popularity since the pandemic began, and it has done so at a faster rate than any other channel. Support tickets coming in from messaging channels rose by 48%, compared to a 15% increase from live chat.

If you haven’t embraced asynchronous messaging yet, we have a few best practices to shape your approach and help you get started.

  • Design your asynchronous messaging strategy around your agents waiting for the customer—not the other way around. While it gives your agents the ability to manage multiple conversations, the benefit should really be for the customers’ flexibility. If you use asynchronous chat to spread your team too thin, the experience can end up feeling like email, which no one likes.
  • One way to improve response times and decrease the time agents spend per interaction? Use a chatbot to welcome customers and collect pertinent information beforehand. This way, customers get served quickly, and agents can spend their time problem-solving instead of gathering information.
  • Want to stand out? Don’t treat messaging like email. In 2020, Zendesk reported that it takes more than 11 hours, on average, to close messaging tickets. That’s compared to 30 minutes for voice and live chat and 11.5 hours for email or web form tickets.
    While messaging gives your team more flexibility to respond, customers still expect a response time in under 5 minutes. Try staffing it as you would with voice and live chat to start. Then, adjust as your team becomes more efficient and you invest in other ways to streamline service.
  • Remember to track actual work time. Overall, asynchronous messaging will have high-resolution times since you can resolve issues in two minutes, two hours, or two days. Giving customers the freedom to respond at their own convenience can superficially elevate those numbers. But remember: if a customer is responsible for the delay, a two-day conversation can result in a lower work time and a higher customer satisfaction rate. So take resolution times with a grain of salt. A conversational platform like Quiq can help you measure actual work time.

Start using asynchronous messaging and deliver stellar customer service.

With customers flocking to messaging channels, it’s a great time for your customer service team to adopt asynchronous messaging. The best way to set your team up for success? With a conversational platform, like Quiq.

Turn any messaging channel into an asynchronous experience. With Quiq, you can:

  • Manage conversations across multiple channels
  • Serve customers based on sentiment
  • Increase agent efficiency and boost customer satisfaction

Sign up for a Quiq demo and see how it can help you deploy asynchronous messaging and elevate your customer service.

Top 3 Things to Know About Apple Messages for Business

How much do you know about Apple Messages for Business?

We know what you’re thinking. Not *another* messaging platform.

But hear us out. Business Messages is one of the most organic messaging experiences you can offer your customers.

There’s no denying that Apple knows how to create a great customer experience. From their Genius Bars to their MacBook packaging, there’s care and attention paid to every small detail.

And that extends to their Business Messages feature. We’re answering three basic questions to help you discover what it is and how to use it to improve your customer experience below.

What is Apple Messages for Business?

Apple Messages for Business allows users to connect with your business through Apple’s native Messaging app on their iOS- or macOS-enabled devices. With more than 1 billion iPhone users, you have a simple way to connect with your customers.

When you enable Apple Messages for Business, users get one-on-one access to your representatives directly in Maps, Safari, Search, Siri, Spotlight, and even within your iOS app. All they have to do is click the messaging icon, and they’re taken to their messaging apps.

Your customers don’t need to navigate through an automated phone tree, search for an email address on your website, or download an app—they can simply open up the Messages app and start chatting with a customer service representative right away.

What can you do with Apple Messages for Business?

Besides enabling customers to connect with you as easily as they do with their favorite people, Apple Messages for Business offers a variety of features you can leverage to improve your customer experience.

Rich messaging

So much more than a text. Rich messaging allows you to send images, links, share a location, read receipts and more.

Send a rich link that displays website information from within the message. Customers can verify it’s the information they’re looking for before tapping the link, and they’re provided an easy way to get back to the conversation after they’ve visited the site.

Retailers can use messaging to send product images, insurance companies can ask for pictures of car damage, or you can share nearby brick-and-mortar locations.

Appointment scheduling

Let customers schedule appointments right from within messaging. Customers can see if it conflicts with their schedule, automatically add the appointment to their iCal, and get reminders to ensure they don’t miss it.

Augmented reality

Help customers decide if a product fits in their home. Using their iPhone camera and augmented reality, customers can visualize a product in their homes.

List picker

Simplify customer choice by letting them pick from a pre-populated list. Use it to help them pick locations, item size, color, or service.

pay to chat apple pay

Accept payments with Apple Pay

Eliminate abandoned carts by completing sales right within Messages. You can send payment requests with Apple Pay and make it so much easier for customers to complete a transaction. No more entering in extra information, and no getting up from the couch to get your credit card… Just instant gratification.

Collect (secure) customer information

What’s one thing customers hate most about customer service? Having to repeat themselves and give out their information to multiple people. Apple Business Chat removes this obstacle by providing the customer information you need. Plus, messages are long-lived. No matter when a customer reaches out, their previous conversation will live in the messaging platform so you can pick up right where you left off. Just like messaging a friend.

What are the benefits of using Apple Messages for Business?

Apple Messages for Business provides many opportunities to delight customers while still streamlining your customer support process. Benefits of Apple Messages for Business include:

  1. The ability to encourage messaging with Message Suggest.
  2. Delivery of a seamless customer experience.
  3. Incorporation of both live agents and chatbots.

Encourage messaging with Message Suggest

Typically, customers can message you by tapping a messaging icon. But you can boost messages and reduce your call volumes with Apple Message Suggest. Customers can tap on your business phone number from anywhere within iOS or macOS, including websites, social media, business directories, etc., and they’ll be given the option to message instead of call.

Adding Message Suggest can help reduce call volume and drive traffic to messaging, which is often more efficient and cost-effective.

Deliver a seamless customer experience

Think of Apple Messages for Business as an extension of your brand experience. You control your business contact info the user sees when they search your name, including logo, contact information, and more.

You can even customize the call-to-action text for Apple Suggest. Instead of the standard, “Why call when you can message?”, consider a simple “Text us” or an encouraging “Get faster service when you send a text.”

Incorporate both live agents and chatbots

One of the requirements for having an Apple Messages for Business account is having live agents available to respond to customer inquiries. But that doesn’t mean you have to have someone at the ready at all times. You can still use chatbots at specific points of the interaction to ensure instant service at all times.

Use bots to:

  • Welcome customers
  • Automate the checkout process
  • Gather customer information
  • Troubleshoot simple customer issues
  • Collect feedback

Since messaging can happen at any time, you can use bots to service customer questions 24/7, such as:

  • Checking order statuses
  • Canceling an order
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Confirming account balances

You can still utilize bots to help you deliver the best experience to your customers while tapping in live agents to provide that one-on-one support.

Take a deep dive into Apple Messages for Business.

We’ve just scratched the surface on what you can do with Apple Messages for Business to surprise and delight your customers. By giving customers a way to connect with your business that they know, love, and use daily, you’re creating a comfortable and inviting experience for them. P.S. To use Apple Messages for Business, you’re required to use a messaging service provider like Quiq.

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Is Your Service Center Busy? Don’t Turn Off Messaging!

Knee-jerk reactions happen. It gets busy. You see your agents struggling. And when your agents are overwhelmed, it’s natural to want to go back to what you know. So you turn all your agents to the phone while turning messaging off.

But this can make things ten times worse.

Instead of controlling the funnel of customer requests, you simply create a ticket backlog that frustrates your customers and further overwhelms your team.

Hear us out about why you should resist the urge to suspend messaging when you get busy. 

Don’t turn off messaging. Here’s why.

1. Customers prefer it.

Business professional woman holding a cell phoneGlobally, messaging has increased in popularity significantly in 2021. According to Zendesk’s 2021 CX Trends Report, in-app messaging popularity grew by 36%, SMS/text messaging by 75%, and social messaging by 110%.

While customers value human connection, younger generations don’t consider emotional connections and text communications mutually exclusive. 

If your customers are used to messaging options, they’re likely to get frustrated when you take it away. The worst-case scenarios? They become unsatisfied, switch to a competitor, or take their complaint to social media.

2. Messaging is more efficient.

It might seem counterintuitive. Rather than focusing on a single call, agents are juggling multiple customer messages at the same time. But with the right tools and sufficient planning, messaging can be a lot more efficient.

With phone calls, agents can only serve one person at a time. They’re wholly tied down to one call. And they may or may not know how serious the problem is, the customer’s mood, or how long it’ll take to resolve their issue. It’s often a crapshoot. 

But messaging gives agents the ability to serve six to eight requests, compared to one phone call. They can prioritize messages based on urgency, dollar amount, VIP and more. Plus, agents can chat with other customers while waiting for one to respond, maximizing their time.

3. Messaging is asynchronous.

Except for live chat, messaging doesn’t require an immediate response. It lands somewhere between phone conversations and email. Customers often send a message but rarely wait for a response. This gives customers a chance to go about their day while having their issues resolved or their questions answered. 

Your customer service agents then have more flexibility in their responses. You can afford to slow down communications without upsetting the customer.

Yes, it’s good to answer customers as quickly as possible. But when it’s busy and your agents are overwhelmed, taking longer to respond to a text message is better than leaving them on hold for the same amount of time.

4. Integrate chatbots to alleviate urgency.

The biggest advantage messaging has over phone calls? Chatbots.

Online customer service chatbot conversations with a customerSalesforce reported that 66% of service professionals credit self-service for reducing call volumes—and that includes chatbots. There are many ways to integrate bots and AI into the customer support experience to reduce the burden on your agents. 

Chatbots can act as your first line of defense, greeting customers and collecting information on their issues. During busy times, you can triage support issues. Customers with urgent problems can be helped first, while those with simpler problems can wait a little longer. For frequently asked questions, you can even write a script for your chatbots to respond and complete the ticket without involving your team at all.

Chatbots and agents can also work in tandem, tag-teaming a conversation when agents get overwhelmed. Chatbots can ask questions or provide scripted responses, and agents can jump in with the solution. Plus, agents can see the entire conversation with the chatbot, so the transition is seamless, and there are no redundant questions.

5. It’s just better customer service.

If you’re a Friends enthusiast, do you remember the episode “The One with the Screamer”? Stay with us. In short, Phoebe misses Joey’s play because she’s on hold for hours trying to claim a warranty that’s about to expire.

While that’s poor customer service taken to the extreme, it’s still very relatable. A Zendesk survey found that  56% of customers say that long hold/wait times are one of the most frustrating customer service experiences. No one wants to wait on hold for hours. And when your support agents are busy, that’s a possibility. Sending a message allows your customers to go on with their day while waiting for a response.

What doesn’t work with messaging

While integrating messaging into your customer service is a great strategy, it’s not a silver bullet. It doesn’t solve all your support problems without some help. 

Here are some ways messaging can go seriously wrong.

1. You only use live messaging.

Live chat is a great way to engage with customers, but it’s not the most forgiving during busy times. Synchronous messaging (instant communication between you and your customer) requires both parties to be available and provide instant responses. It doesn’t adequately replace a phone call. When you’re busy, synchronous messaging can take up more of your agents’ time.

2. You’re using chatbots ineffectively.

Pairing chatbots with synchronous messaging lends to a lackluster customer service experience. Using simplistic chatbots in your web messaging often turns into hold messages (i.e., “Someone will be with you in 20 minutes”) or a glorified search bar (i.e., “What can I help you with?”).

Chatbot scripts and messaging trees are also vital to their success. Filling it with copy that lacks empathy, is too formal for your audience, or confuses them further will also create a bad experience.

3. You’re not adequately preparing your team.

According to Salesforce, 55% of agents say they need better training in order to do their job well. Messaging customers and handling issues over the phone are two different skill sets. There are many cues you can pick up on through someone’s voice to determine their state of mind. Your customer service team was likely trained to listen for these cues and respond accordingly. 

But messaging is different. There are fewer ways to pick up on a customer’s mood and fewer ways to build a rapport. If your team isn’t prepped to respond quickly while expressing empathy, it can come off as detached or fake.

How to ensure messaging success

Don’t panic. When you see a busy season on the horizon, there are a few things you can do to set your customer support team up for messaging success.

1. It’s all about the prep work.

It’s not a good idea to plug your current customer service strategies into a messaging platform as is. You need a strategy that works across voice calls and messaging, so you can transition customers between them seamlessly. 

2. Set up triage ahead of time.

Messaging Chat Bots Help Customer ServiceBefore the avalanche hits, decide how you’ll handle customer support questions. Who gets to go first when you can’t get to everyone right away? Will it be the most urgent problem? The VIP customers? Whoever has a problem that can be solved the quickest?

Then determine how you’ll assign issues to different service agents or even different departments. Lean into conversational AI and chatbots to help automate those decisions.

3. Reduce call volume with call-to-text.

Integrate call-to-text with your interactive voice response (IVR) system to give customers the option of transitioning to text instead of waiting on hold.

4. Ensure seamless integration across platforms.

It’s easy for customer communications to become fragmented. Silos can form between different messaging platforms, phone calls, and web chat. Find a communications platform that keeps track of customers across multiple channels so your agents have a complete history of the conversation before they jump in.

5. Create an escape plan.

Okay. Not an actual escape plan. But you should have a strategy in place to help get your customer service agents out of the hole—that doesn’t involve turning off your messaging entirely. Have some remote agents on call to take the overflow. Or try enlisting other team members to help out when your team is overwhelmed. Maybe even try turning off your phones and relying on messaging services until you catch up.

Whatever you do, set yourself up for success with better options than shutting down your customer service messaging and weathering the storm.

Master your messaging with Quiq

Don’t hit the panic button. Even if your team is under fire, resist the urge to go full phone. Instead of solving the problem, you may be creating several more.

What does it really take to reach customer service messaging success? A conversational platform that enhances your agents’ ability to deliver exceptional customer service. Prepare for the busy days ahead with Quiq.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the amount of messaging channels out there. Regardless of how your customers or prospects engage, Quiq manages it all within our multi-channel conversational engagement platform.

Get a Quiq demo today.

3 Key Customer Success Metrics to Go After in 2022

With jingle bells ringing and cash registers chiming, it’s clear we’re still smack dab in the middle of the holiday rush. But off in the distance, you can hear an orchestra play the first few familiar notes of Auld Lang Syne.

2022 is quickly approaching, and you’re likely gearing up for new initiatives, process changes, and everything else that comes with the beginning of a new year.

Have you figured out how to measure it yet?

The beginning of the year is a great time to start tracking your customer success metrics. Measuring how happy your customers are with your service and how likely they are to return is a great predictor of overall business success.

Use success metrics to:

  • Gauge the success of new initiatives
  • Identify weak points in the customer journey
  • Measure the success of your customer service team
  • Track the growth of individual team members
  • Predict customer loyalty

But the world of customer data is massive. Where do you start?

There are many ways to gauge and improve your customer service, but we’ve identified three customer success metrics that will give you the best, well-rounded view of how you’re performing in your customers’ eyes.

Keep reading to see what they are and how to use them. 

Why should you measure customer success?

To put it simply, you can’t make customer-centric decisions without any input from the customer. While we always have our customers’ best interests at heart, what we think customers want and what they actually want can be vastly different.

But more than identifying needs, giving customers the opportunity to provide feedback makes them feel valued. Customers with service issues often just want to be heard, which also applies to the feedback they offer. They want to know their complaint has been taken and addressed.

Plus, 1 in 3 customers share their contact center experiences with others, and half of those do so on social media, according to a 2020 report from the CFI Group. Hearing about customer issues from social media has the potential to damage your brand.

That’s where customer surveys come in. 

Success metric #1: Customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction, or CSAT, often asks customers one question: How satisfied are you with your experience? 

Customers respond using a numerical scale to rate their experience from very dissatisfied to very satisfied. Numerical scales are typically 1 to 5 or 1 to 10, but they can vary based on your business’s preference.

How do you calculate CSAT scores?

Number of satisfied customers ÷ Total number of respondents x 100 = CSAT

On a 1 to 5 scale, 4s and 5s are typically the highest predictors of customer retention.

This short survey works best when asked immediately after a specific experience. You can offer the survey after a purchase, an interaction with your customer service team, or a return.

What can you do to improve your CSAT scores?

  • Improve response times
  • Resolve issues quickly
  • Ask follow-up questions to discern the context behind customer dissatisfaction

While CSAT is an excellent monitoring tool, it has its limitations. It works best when measuring specific interactions but doesn’t give you an overall picture of the customer experience. While it can indicate customer satisfaction, it isn’t the best at identifying whether a customer is likely to return or recommend your business to someone else.

You’re also more likely to hear from customers at either extreme: either terrible experiences or outstanding experiences. Customers in the middle are less likely to take the time and fill out the survey.

Success metric #2: Customer effort score

Customer effort score, or CES, measures how easy it is to do business with your company. For this survey, you ask customers to rate the ease of interaction with your customer service team, typically from 1 to 7, with low numbers corresponding to very difficult and high numbers very easy.

How do you calculate CES?

Sum of all scores ÷ total number of responses = CES average

This more recent measurement originates from a Harvard Business Review study that found “little relationship between satisfaction and loyalty.”

Their main conclusion?

“When it comes to service, companies create loyal customers primarily by helping them solve their problems quickly and easily.”

So while customer delight and satisfaction are vital goals, HBR concluded that the level of effort required is a greater predictor of disloyalty. The more effort customers have to expend, the less likely they are to continue patronizing your business.

What can you do to improve your CES?

  • Simplify the checkout process with message-based payments
  • Solve customer issues with fewer interactions
  • Give customers self-service options on your website

The main issue that pops up with CES is that it’s ambiguous. Customers don’t always interpret “effort” in a manner that is useful to your business. It also doesn’t translate well across cultures.

Success metric #3: Net Promoter Score®

A Net Promoter Score, or NPS®, is a proprietary customer success metric that asks the question: How likely are you to recommend [business/product/service] to someone you know?

Customers answer based on a 10-point scale, and answers are categorized as follows:

  • Detractors: 0 to 6
  • Passives: 7 and 8
  • Promoters: 9 and 10

Detractors are customers who were completely dissatisfied with your service and have the potential to damage your business. It’s best to follow up with these customers to ask them why they feel the way they do and to solve any persistent problems they might have.

Passives are typically customers who were satisfied with your business but overall unenthusiastic about it. They’re more likely to switch to competitors depending on their needs.

Promoters are the ultimate goal. They’re enthusiastic about your brand. Promoters are most likely to purchase frequently and share your business with people they know. According to Bain & Company, a promoter has a lifetime value 6 to 14 times that of a detractor.

How do you calculate NPS?

% of promoters — % of detractors = NPS

While NPS is designed to gauge the overall performance of your business, you can also use it transactionally to measure the success of products or services. If your goal is overall company reputation, it’s best to send out the survey at regular intervals, like quarterly or yearly. If you’re measuring a specific product or service, send the survey shortly after the purchase is complete.

What can you do to improve your NPS?

Since NPS is measuring your customers’ perception of your brand, there aren’t one or two things that can drastically improve it. Everything matters.

NPS brings a different dynamic to survey results, but the answers without any context aren’t constructive. Since you’re more likely looking at the overall impression of your brand instead of specific interactions or customer emotions, it can be pretty hard to decipher the results in a meaningful way.

That’s why it’s essential to ask for reasonings either within your survey or as a follow-up. Give your customers the opportunity to explain their decisions, and then use that information to improve your score.

Customer success survey best practices

What do all of these customer success metrics have in common? They require surveying your customers.

Here are some best practices to help increase your response rates.

  • Send surveys using the method customers prefer. If they reached out to you via web chat, Facebook Messenger, or Google’s Business Messages, send a survey immediately after their interaction. 
  • Combine communications. If you send an email thanking customers for their patronage, add the survey to that message. If you send a text with their order details, include it with the message. They’re less likely to ignore it when it’s paired with important information.
  • Use chatbots. Set up your chatbot to trigger a survey message immediately after a ticket is closed, so you can ensure you’re serving every customer.
  • Offer incentives. Low response rates can skew your data. Encourage customer participation with discounts, free shipping, or an entry into larger giveaways.

While there are some tricks to encourage customer participation, there’s no silver bullet. Regularly engaging with your customers will get them used to frequent conversations with your brand and make them more likely to get involved.

Capture customer success metrics with Quiq

Measuring customer success metrics is an essential part of your customer experience. But you need a reliable way to capture feedback, no matter which platform your customers prefer.

Quiq’s integrated surveys let customers answer questions directly within the conversation, and it doesn’t send them to another page. Use these in-conversation surveys to increase your response rates—and even increase your CSAT scores.

What’s Quiq all about?

Dreading Customer Experience Snags Over the Holidays? You’re Not Alone.

Your dread of poor customer experience is justified: The holidays are going to be tough on retailers this year. It’s already proving to be a mess of a season. Between supply shortages, delivery delays, and a smaller labor pool, holiday shopping can prove difficult this year. 

And customers know it. 

68% of shoppers are either very or somewhat concerned about poor service due to a lack of employees, according to the Salesforce Holiday Insights report. 78% are concerned about shipping delays and product availability, respectively. 

Overall, there’s a lot to worry about this year. But you’re not alone. 

On a positive note, holiday shopping has started earlier. Sales were up 18% year-over-year for the first two weeks of November, according to Salesforce. Black Friday sales aren’t breaking any records and actually suffered a small decline over last year. Adobe Analytics is reporting $8.9 billion in sales, which actually makes sense. It tracks with earlier spending as shoppers try to avoid stockouts and shipping delays.

Now to your big question: How do you ensure a stellar customer experience amidst these challenges? Let’s discuss that.

Customer loyalty matters more than ever

It seems like we say that a lot, doesn’t it? 

Customer loyalty is a constant focus, but it becomes even more critical during times of change. As shoppers move toward e-commerce, they forge new loyalties. The brand interactions they have are with your customer support team instead of with sales team members. This poses both challenges and opportunities.

But the real problem this holiday season is that shoppers know what they want, and they don’t care who they get it from. 

39% of consumers who couldn’t get an out-of-stock item switched brands or products, and 32% switched retailers.”

According to a McKinsey study, 39% of consumers who couldn’t get an out-of-stock item switched brands or products, and 32% switched retailers. They’re not waiting for items to come back in stock.

Whether trying to keep the customers you have or attempting to capture new customers as they jump ship from other retailers, you have a short window to capture their loyalty.

How do you do that? Listen to your customers, communicate effectively, and empower your agents to go above and beyond whenever possible.

Infuse CX into every step of the customer journey

Since customers are more willing to switch retailers to get the items they want, your customer experience needs to be your number one priority. 

We know you’re already slammed with holiday queries, but bringing your support team into every step of the customer journey is the best way to ensure a stellar customer experience.

Consider how to get ahead of customer problems before they get to your support team. Include holiday questions on your FAQ page and send out notifications when inventory or shipping snags occur. 

When problems do arise, remember these short customer experience tips to solve problems quickly and earn back the trust of your customers.

Quick customer experience tips:

  1. Be warm
  2. Be prepared with quick answers
  3. Ensure your customer feels listened to
  4. Don’t come off as rote
  5. Be transparent about problems
  6. Solve issues in one support request

Get creative with staffing

According to Forbes, 68% of organizations saw a greater increase in customer service inquiries during the 2020 holiday season versus the 2019 holiday season. It would be no surprise to see even higher numbers this season.

And in customer service, immediacy is the name of the game. Customers want quick service and often expect some kind of reply 24/7. Yet many retailers are short-staffed.

While the labor pool is shallow, long wait times are the quickest way to frustrate your customers. To ensure your team isn’t completely overwhelmed, get creative with your staffing:

Top holiday staffing strategies

  1. Lean into short-term staffing
  2. Extend hours for employees who want them
  3. Stagger shifts based on peak shopping hours
  4. Pull in employees from other departments
  5. Extend your labor pool with remote hires

The right infrastructure can make hiring short-term and remote employees a breeze. Messaging software makes it possible to onboard new hires quickly—even when they’re across the country. No need to ship desk phones or physical products. Just log in and go.

Embrace chatbots for improved customer service

We know it’s crunch time, but adding chatbots to your customer experience arsenal will do a lot to smooth out the snags. There’s a lot you can do with chatbots and AI to speed up your customer response time. Live-Chat-Software-Chatbot-Messaging-Window

The first is to use chatbots as a routing method. Ask simple questions to gauge the type of customer issue. If you can direct the customer to another department or another self-service option, that’s a best-case scenario.

You can also get more advanced and prepare scripts for commonly asked questions. Consider it an FAQ page on steroids. You can answer slightly more complex queries, and customers get the feeling of personal service.

Here are some common holiday questions you can program a chatbot to answer:

Common questions for your chatbot

  1. What’s the status of my order?
  2. When’s the last day to order to ensure my package gets delivered by Christmas Eve?
  3. What’s your return policy?
  4. How much is shipping?
  5. When will this item be back in stock?
  6. How often do you get new products in?
  7. I ordered the wrong size, what do I do?

Preparing scripts for simple answers like these once can save your team from handling hundreds of interactions—give them more time and you one less thing to worry about.

Streamline backend technology

The holidays are the worst time of year to fight against your technology. Customer service teams are handling loads of messages and calls from all different platforms, and switching between them is inefficient. And frankly annoying.

Consider a conversational platform that allows your customers to reach out using the preferred channel but still keeps the backend organized and efficient for your team.

Agents can bounce back and forth between messaging channels without losing track of conversations. Customers get to chat with your brand how they want, where they want, and your team gets to preserve the experience and deliver snag-free customer service.

Do away with dread and upgrade your customer experience

The holidays are a make-or-break moment for retailers. While you may be dreading the rush just as much as the customer, they’re looking to your customer support team to shine amidst the struggles.

Let your last major technology purchase of the year be one that can help you get through the holiday season with fewer customer experience snags and more sales

Power your customer service team with Quiq

Ensure your team communicates effectively over any messaging channel with Quiq. Our AI-enhanced conversational platform supports your customer service team with multiple messaging channels, chatbots, CRM integrations, and more.

Quiq Congratulates Customers on Newsweek’s Best Online Shops 2021

Since 2020, we’ve all become accustomed to shopping online even more so than before the pandemic. Working with Statista to gather data, Newsweek plucked out 1,000 e-commerce stores and identified them as this year’s best of the best. We’re thrilled to see so many Quiq clients on Newsweek’s list of Best Online Shops 2021, which recognizes brands that offer first-rate customer experiences.

We’d like to wholeheartedly congratulate these hardworking brands, who are committed to elevating their customer experiences. To celebrate, we thought it’d be fun to spotlight a handful who made the list, as well as how they’re getting ahead with Quiq.

Here are a few Quiq customers who made the list:

Lane Bryant

Newsweek score: 7.68 | lanebryant.com

Lane Bryant deployed an automated sales assistant with Quiq to help customers find the right product. With integration to True Fit, customers easily find their right size, too. And the automation seamlessly hands sessions off to an agent to complete a sale when necessary.

Lane Bryant’s smooth handoff and automation are paying off by making their customer experiences more personal. The brand found that users who engage with their automated assistant are 3x more likely to convert to a sale, and have a 20% higher average order value (AOV).

Blue Nile

Newsweek score: 8.64 | bluenile.com

Through conversational design and intelligent routing, Quiq identified instances that were sales opportunities and should automatically be escalated to a Diamond Expert. Quiq also ingested FAQs to help contain service-related questions when possible and did NLU training to interpret care issues that needed escalation.

Based on the customer’s intent, the chatbot is able to determine whether the query could be completed via self-service or if Diamond Expert assistance is needed. This sophisticated routing is supported with a handoff integration to seamlessly connect to experienced agents, who are ready to respond to inquiries better suited to human resolution.

In a short 5 months with Quiq, Blue Nile converted 10% of phone calls to messaging. They’re on track to move 20% of inbound calls to messaging.

Bob’s Discount Furniture

Newsweek score: 8.12 | mybobs.com

Bob’s partnered with Quiq to deploy an IVR to SMS strategy, allowing callers to opt into SMS based on their reason for contact. Quiq’s automation then engaged with customers to pre-fill Zendesk tickets and attach photos before passing them to an agent to take over.

Next, Bob’s expanded BobBot to a conversational web assistant built to resolve common inquiries related to product issues, product questions, delivery tracking, FAQs and more—while handing users off to an agent when necessary.

Lastly, Quiq and Bob’s set up data feeds to allow for delivery and service scheduling and rescheduling to be completely automated, saving agents time and providing customers with quick and seamless service.

Office Depot

Newsweek score: 8.60 | officedepot.com

Office Depot is championing self-service with SMS text messages, Apple Messages for Business, and Google channels powered by Quiq. They’ve also integrated Quiq chatbots with Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle Digital Assistant (their chatbot) for order status self-service via SMS. Office Depot’s customers can get key info like order confirmations and statuses via their preferred communication method.

Overstock

Newsweek score: 8.07 | overstock.com

Overstock empowers customers to communicate with them over several direct messaging channels, including SMS and Apple Messages for Business. The brand also powers outbound order status SMS notifications with Quiq at a high volume. And because Quiq’s notifications are responsive, Overstock’s customers can reply back to SMS texts and get connected to an agent.

Final thoughts.

With all the options customers have today, brands have to meet increasingly high expectations. We’re honored that these businesses have chosen to partner with Quiq to meet customers’ needs while advancing business goals—and that they are being recognized for their incredible devotion to customer experience.

Curious about how Quiq can help your business improve customer experience, CSAT, and revenue?

See a Demo Today